Thursday, June 6, 2024

BEQ tk (Darby) 


LAT 4:29 (Gareth) 


NYT 9:37 (ZDL) 


Universal tk (Sophia) 


USA Today 12:45 (Emily) 


WSJ 6:51 (Jim) 


Fireball untimed (Jenni) 


Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Lost Opportunities”—Jim’s review

Theme answers feature the letters OUT, but those letters should be ignored in the crossing Down answers to make sense of those clues. However, those Down entries (with those letters included) still make valid—though unclued—crossword words.

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Lost Opportunities” · Mike Shenk · Thu., 6.6.24

  • 17a. [Disrespect, in a way] MOUTH OFF TO crossing ALOE, FAUN, TITTLES.
  • 21a. [Neither here nor there?] ENROUTE crossing CORONER, LIEU, ALIT. Nice clue.
  • 39a. [Salad bar offering] SPROUTS crossing DENOTED, SUIT, TREADING.
  • 54a. [Salad bar offering] CROUTON crossing OLEO, POPULAR, START.
  • Revealer: 62a. [Losing an opportunity, and an explanation for 15 of the Down answers] MISSING OUT crossing MOAT, AUNT, STAY.

This was fun. I stumbled around in the NW at first but had my aha moment with the second answer. After that, things progressed swimmingly, and for another week, my Thursday solve time was quicker than my Wednesday time. But even knowing the gimmick, it was still satisfying to come across entries like POPULAR/POPLAR and CORONER/CORNER.

Lots of theme material in both directions leaves little room for long fill, but SHORES UP and LASAGNA stand out. Nothing too clunky except maybe AES crossing ERN.

Clues of note:

  • 46a. [Trade magazines?]. RELOAD. I’m certainly not big into gun culture, but that’s a good clue.
  • 50a. [Like a new parent]. PROUD. Based off the D, I went with TIRED.

Good puzzle. 4.25 stars.

Peter Gordon’s Fireball Crossword, “Take My Advice” – Jenni’s write-up

Since I’m still a little jet-lagged and had an odd day at work today I really appreciated this puzzle. It’s funny and clever and not particularly difficult. It felt like a cold drink after a hot afternoon.

On the face of it, the theme answers make no sense – that’s how I knew they were theme answers.

Fireball, June 5, 2024, Peter Gordon, “Take My Advice,” solution grid

  • 11d [Beat up a blockhead?] is MAUL CHUMP.
  • 17a [Allure of a popcorn topping?] is BUTTER PULL.
  • 27a [Simple shelter where fruit drinks are stored?] is PUNCH HUT.
  • 24d [Groaners such as “For their midday meal, the honeymooners ordered ‘Lettuce alone, no dressing’ ” is LUNCH PUNS.
  • 38a [Shoot Ziggy’s dog?] is GUN FUZZ.

The revealer explains all. 62a [Introductory words of advice…and a phonetic hint to this puzzle’s theme] is IF I WERE YOU. Sub I for U in the theme answers and you get MAIL CHIMPBITTER PILLPINCH HITLINCHPINS, and GIN FIZZ. All solid base phrases and funny transformations and Peter gets extra points for spelling out YOU.

A few other things:

  • 2d [Music from the guitar Lucille] is BLUES. BB King and his beloved Gibson.
  • I filled in 6d without thinking about it and DOPR looked wrong. Nope. The clue is [Promote a movie on talk shows, say].
  • I enjoyed the crossing of UNO and UNU.
  • 30d [X: cut :: Z: ___] is UNDO. Add CTRL to the letters.
  • 60d [Sushi fish never served raw] is EELS. I know this because I watched “Chopped.”

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: oh, so many things. I didn’t know Ziggy had a dog named FUZZ. I was not aware the Jack Lord died on OAHU or that Jay CHOU played Kato when Seth Rogen played the Green Hornet. And I’ve never heard of Jon RAHM and certainly didn’t know that he won the Masters in 2023.

Michael Lieberman’s New York Times crossword — Zachary David Levy’s write-up

Difficulty: Easy (9m37s)

Michael Lieberman’s New York Times crossword, 6/6/24, 0606

Today’s theme: I’VE CHANGED (“The old me is gone” … or what happened between the first and second parts of 19-, 28-, 37- and 48-Across?)


Apropos of the Utah blocks in the grid — if you happen to travel to the Beehive State, make sure you take a lot of pictures.  You know, dive into Moab, really ARCHIVE ARCHES.  Don’t be afraid to get into every nook and cranny either — give yourself up to the back country, RECEIVE RECESSES, etc.  Am I doing it right?? (You’re doing great.  — Ed.)


Slacking: Attests?  No, ATESTS.

Sidetracking: the BOLSHOI


Freddie Cheng’s USA Today Crossword, “Center Court” — Emily’s write-up

This sweet-talking puzzle will make your day!

Completed USA Today crossword for Thursday June 06, 2024

USA Today, June 06, 2024, “Center Court” by Freddie Cheng

Theme: the middle of each themer contains —WOO—


  • 19a. [Heavy-duty kitchen scourers], STEELWOOLPADS
  • 33a. [Speaker for low bass frequencies], SUBWOOFER
  • 56a. [Silver screen legend], HOLLYWOODSTAR

A variety of topics in the themer set today, with STEELWOOLPADS, SUBWOOFER, and HOLLYWOODSTAR. The title is fun because it offers a slight misdirection and made me think of basketball but the commonality lines up not only in the middle of the themers but also in the middle of the grid as well as being centered with each other so it pops out one they are filled in, just in case it didn’t stand out sooner.


Stumpers: SCRAM (needed a couple of crossings), HEADSIN (needed all crossings), and SAYSHI (also needed crossings)

Check out this grid design! Enjoyed the lengthy bonus fill that the design allowed. I had a little helper this morning so my time is longer than it should be but it still took a me a while, since some of the fill was new to me, or phrases that I don’t use/hear often) plus some of the cluing was a little tricky for me. Overall, everything was fairly crossed and the solve still felt smooth even with the extra time it took for me to solve.

3.5 stars


Paul Voge & Katie Hale’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary

LA Times

Human beings Paul Voge & Katie Hale give us a puzzle about HUMAN/BEANS – people whose last name are a variety of “bean”:

  • [Actor who voices the panda in the “Kung Fu Panda” films], JACKBLACK. Black bean usually refers to a variety of common bean.
  • [Brazilian supermodel who’s a face of Maybelline], ADRIANALIMA. The lima bean is better known as a butter bean here.
  • [“Slumdog Millionaire” actress], FREIDAPINTO. A second variety of the common bean.
  • [“Family Guy” voice actor who co-created “Robot Chicken”], SETHGREEN. Green beans are unripe common beans.

Today’s mystery answer: [QB protectors], OLINE. It seems to be a shortening of “offensive linemen”.


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15 Responses to Thursday, June 6, 2024

  1. Eric H says:

    NYT: ARCHIVE ARCHES would have been a good theme answer. (I have been to Arches NP at least a dozen times and have probably taken hundreds of pictures.)

    The puzzle was fun, but seemed more like a Tuesday or Wednesday theme. It’s the kind of theme I might have come up with, which is to say acceptable but not extremely original.

    • Eric H says:

      I just remembered that my user photo was taken at Delicate Arch, which is the one seen on some Utah license plates.

      • Me says:

        I really like Zachary David Levy’s ARCHIVES ARCHES and RECEIVES RECESSES because the pronunciation changes. They’re more interesting than the actual theme answers, especially the PASSIVE/MASSIVE/MISSIVE trio, which seem too similar to each other.

      • David Roll says:

        Lived in Utah for a long time and recognized it. I still have one of the plates.

    • DougC says:

      I agree that this puzzle seems like it would have been more appropriate for a Tuesday or Wednesday. Not really challenging or interesting enough for a Thursday.

    • Dallas says:

      Cluing was mostly along Wednesday / Thursday difficulty, but I agree with your assessment of the theme; felt a bit too simple for a Thursday.

    • Steve says:

      That just happens to be the answer to my bonus themer video title today!

  2. David L says:

    This was a very weak Thursday puzzle, IMO. There’s really nothing tricky to figure out, and once you grasped what’s going on the long answers practically fill themselves in. On top of that, IVE changes to ES, but so what?

    Gratuitously, I’ve never understood the appeal of Frank GEHRY’s work. You make one building that looks like crumpled aluminum foil and yes, sure, it’s novel and provocative. But when they all look like crumpled aluminum foil, not so much.

    • Eric H says:

      I disagree about Frank Gehry’s work. I’ve seen his Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle (back when it was the Experience Music Project). But I would still like to see his Guggenheim in Bilbao someday.

    • JohnH says:

      My fear was more that it’d be yet another entry for I. M. Pei, although then we could say that someone thinks he’s the best of our era based on number of crossword entries.

      I found enough challenge for a Thursday in the fill apart from the theme, which turned out to be my handle on the puzzle. I didn’t care for the theme, though. Reading the revealer, I wanted to ask well, fine, but changed HOW?

  3. Dan says:

    NYT: A bit disappointed in the theme, which I found kind of meh, plus the so-called revealer I’VE CHANGED is rather inaccurate: IVE hasn’t merely “changed”; it has *disappeared* in the second part of each theme entry. And the clues did not present any particular difficulty or trickiness.

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